Philadelphia 76ers: Turnovers Still A Problem Vs. Wizards


Philadelphia 76ers basketball is back! Unfortunately so is the sloppy offense… so far at least. The Sixers opened up their preseason against John Wall and the Washington Wizards Tuesday night. The Wizards handled the Sixers easily in a 129-95 victory, but the real story of the game for Philadelphia was the continued trend of turnovers committed by the 76ers.

Last season, the 76ers finished last in turnovers, committing a whopping 17.7 per game. This led to a struggling Sixers offense all year, and the first game of the 2015 preseason forecasts a similar struggle. The Sixers finished Tuesday night committing 23 turnovers, a problem that plagued 11 of the 13 players that played for Philly. In fact, the only two players who did not commit turnovers were Christian Wood and J.P. Tokoto, who both played the least minutes. The turnovers were especially frustrating to watch as it not only showed the roster’s young, undisciplined age, but also a lack of confidence with the ball in a half court offense.

The turnovers may be the result of not having a facilitating point guard, but it is evident that almost every player on the roster is incapable of protecting the ball.  The turnovers allowed Washington to run the fast break and execute easy buckets. This trend is concerning to a team looking to make progress in the win category this season, but one that will continue until the young roster develops a better sense of the offense.

A high turnover rate was expected in the first few seasons of Brett Brown’s fast paced offense that involves a lot of ball movement, but there was hope that with more continuity there would be somewhat of a cleanup. For the Sixers to progress this season, there must be a focus on protecting the ball and allow the offense to come to life, instead of forcing the issue.

Tuesday night’s turnovers were a combination of chemistry issues, bad decisions, and lack of focus. The chemistry issues are less concerning, but the lack of focus is a red flag. It is only preseason, but it is never good to see Isaiah Canaan lose the ball to Wizards center Nene, who finished the play off with a dunk.

This is a team that must learn to control the ball in the half court and find openings with smart and quick passing, otherwise compiling a star assemble of big men will have proven to be worthless. In an offense centered around Jahlil Okafor, it is essential that the ball ends up in his hands for most of the game. There were several possessions where swing passes led to turnovers before Okafor even had the chance to anchor his position down low.

The center proved to be a scoring asset already in the first game, scoring 12 points in 17 minutes.

The Sixers still have time to cleanup the offense this preseason and surely it will be something Brown addresses to the team before taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. This is a fixable problem, but it is also a major problem. The turnovers will be something to watch all season, and at the moment the Sixers are looking at a repeat of offensive struggle.

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